From Balanchine to Baker: An International Evening of Dance
Indiana University Ballet Theater, Jacobs School of Music
Musical Arts Center at Jordan Avenue, between Third and Seventh streets, Bloomington, Ind.
IU Ballet Theater is entering a new era with the appointment of Michael Vernon as chair of the Jacobs School’s Ballet Department.
“Ballet itself has to make people think,” stated Vernon during a telephone interview from Bloomington. “I am very interested in choreography and in being open to current trends in ballet.”
IU Ballet programs will include ballets that he considers milestones, works that were original and innovative for their time so that audiences will come to enjoy contemporary and new choreography as a continuum. Vernon will not freeze dance in a particular period. Over time, however, the dancers of IU Ballet Theater will develop a style unique to the company and to the constant evolution of ballet technique and choreography.
Vernon’s plan is to run the program as a professional ballet company with morning classes followed by rehearsals and performances and with cutting-edge professionals worldwide as guest artists.
As conversant in all arts genres as in ballet, Vernon comments on the importance of educating audiences and helping those who revere the classics to become comfortable with contemporary/new ballet while recognizing a growing audience whose desire is for involvement.
“We have to help our dance audience understand the path to the present so we are able to see the future. We’re asking our audience to acquire another level of sophistication.”
Vernon expects his ballet on the Oct. 6-7 program to lead the way; one of the pieces, “Cathedral,” is set to music by Agustin Barrios performed by guitarist Espen Jensen.
Ballet is an active art, as is music and visual art. You look at a Picasso and even though you know people and objects don’t look like that, you find connections; you can relate to what the artist is communicating. In the same way, a ballet need not have a well-made story with a beginning, middle and end. The audience will enjoy movement and music that leads them to have varying opinions; that, in turn, leads to conversations.
Comparing this fall ballet to a symphony program, Vernon shows how introducing new works starts with providing audiences with familiar pieces, in this case with George Balanchine’s “Allegro Brillante” set to music by Tchaikovsky performed by pianists Jayoung Kim and Joy Reeder, and Jerome Robbins’ “Other Dances,” set to music by Chopin performed by pianist David LaMarche.
The program also introduces “Fire of Life” by Guoping Wang to music by Rachmaninoff, performed by pianists Matthew Gianforte and Meeyoun Park, and “Screemin’ Meemies,” choreographed by Jacques Cesbron to music by David Baker, which features a cello with jazz orchestra.
American Ballet Theatre guest artists Julie Kent and Damian Woetzel will perform the Robbins work as part of IU’s professional-connections concept. IU students perform the rest of the program. Vernon invites audiences to follow young dancers throughout their careers just as they follow athletes.
For reservations, call the MAC box office: 812-855-7433; Ticketmaster: 812-333-9955; or www.music.indiana.edu.
For more information on Vernon, log onto http://newsinfo.iu.edu/news/page/normal/3698.html.